We got a circular today . I opened it hoping that it would be of some event or something but alas! It turned out to be our datesheet for the mid-term exams !
Later that day when I opened my science book to study for the same, I started to smile . My mom entered the room and looked here and there perhaps in an attempt to find the thing that could make a person like me smile.
So I picked up the article lying near my bed with the headline
“ COVID – 19 the evaluation of all “
I think my mom didn’t get the reason even then because she looked at me with a confused expression.
You see, since my past 9 years in school I have never been a big fan of assessments (none of us is) but this time there was an undisguised proof that there are so many tests throughout life.
This year every person- be it politicians, decision makers, parents, and even labourers have given a test. It gives a sense of relief that students are not alone in giving examinations because now I know that we are being graded at every stage of our life.
The difference is in school we are graded only by teachers but in life there is never a limitation on who has the permission to judge us. Each of us are being scored every second, every minute everywhere. In fact when any of you read this, you will even form an opinion on what has been written.
This year, some countries barely passed it to procure control over the spread, and there was an early celebration.
We can very well blame the authorities but we can’t hide the every person who didn’t follow the instructions or the protocols like the back benchers in the class who usually disturb the peace and quiet and who take disregard of the teacher’s each and every statement.
Also As always there are plenty of people who judge who condemn but only a handful of us who actually step forward.
And this time, there is a need of the people to follow instructions. Opposite from the perception of an upthrust desire of unruly opposition to them.
We need those who do give their raw needed opinions and make the public duly aware of the caveats , who criticize , but those who especially step forward to control the spread of the pandemic as well. Be it in their own ways and beliefs.
Why am I emphasising on the word ‘NEED’? We are in a bit of shortage
Back to my exams, we have the chapter motion in our syllabus, where we learnt about acceleration and retardation.
Acceleration is the change in velocity according to time right?
And retardation is nothing but acceleration with a negative sign.
Apparently life is indeed an application of what we learn in school.
Because it turns out that in reality also there are two types of people who bring changes in situations ( velocity ) according to time .
Type 1 : Those who are involved in quickening the process of improvement and change (acceleration)
Type 2 : Those who are involved in delaying or slowing the process of improvement In other words people with a negative sign ( retardation )
I am not classifying you as type one or type two. That is for your take, and only on you.
But again Acceleration? Or Retardation
Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock …………. Time is up. Chapter revised.
Sunshine. The red-yellow rays falling down. Coming from a distant source, and yet getting scattered all around. By tiny immiscible dust particles, roaming in the air. It was all science. The colours of some life became tyrant in its light. Myriad heads closed together of women, men, children alike as they lifted hefty materials up onto their shoulders, as if God had given them unusual strength to fill their bellies in this strange world. Foreheads dripping with sweat as runners and joggers, completed their last round, and took a harsh long breath. Sweat etched near the brows, as engineer mom and dads, worked their way to draft important emails, prepare for meetings assisted by uncomfortable hard chairs. Sunshine filled our lives with its usual warmth, and the glinting piercing rays kept us up for the rest of the day.
I gently rub my eyes. It is the piercing voice of the alarm next to my ears. My mum shouting. It is Monday 6:15 a.m. Mum is in the kitchen now brewing tea. I look at her from my door slightly left ajar. I then sweep my eyes towards the long slidable glass for the Sun. It was my natural alarm. The hot scorching rays would come in contact with skin to spread its warmth gradually throughout the dry body, working to make it moist, until one could do no more but blink their eyes open to yet another day. Yet the weather was unusually cold. A harsh cool breeze and winds and a dry grey sky adorned the apartments in the background.
I would have fancied waiting, sitting on my bed, making a grave analysis of the greyness of the sky. But classes started at 7:20.
I hastily got myself up, brushed my teeth back and forth and went on to take a bath ‘Time is up’, I thought and got up.
My classes finished at 1p.m. I leave the room and lie down in the bed with a huge sigh ” Ah! The classes are over ” and to my surprise I see my mom do that as well “Ah! A break for 30 minutes’‘. My brother follows the same suit with an ” Ah! No more classes” and my dad who could pass for a deeply dedicated employee too came in with an ” Ah! Lunch break” It was so surprising for me, a year back it was just me who used to lie down and relax when my brother was in day care and mom and dad in the office. But today each one of us had a tiring day it seemed. We all started talking; and to my surprise my brother was the first one to speak “These online classes. I am really concerned about not getting spectacles. And will not you all be shocked to hear this from me!!” he said “we just stare at the screen for 5 hours and the teacher just rambles on and on. I do not enjoy it even a bit “.
My mum who would have reprimanded my brother for speaking about his teacher like that today really spoke out her misery too “And I son, am more than ever tired doing zoom calls, typing emails, attending to my dear boss!’
I shared the same feeling. I can still feel the gloomy cold voice of her, one teacher, speaking out what she knows and getting what she wants. Subservient yeses. And then All of us started laughing together. Because each one of us had a sad remark to share and a huge discontent to blabber about. We enjoyed those stories together and towards the end my dad said ” It’s true yes, no one likes Virtual meetings… He looked at me and my brother and said amused ‘and schools on your laptops, but don’t you feel that this is the only way we can move forward, the only practical way? And virtual meetings are not entirely boring. At times, even without realising our distaste towards online classes, during funny incidents we share innocent laughs with others”.
I remember today, all of us lauding our Maths teacher with emojis of hearts and smileys present on Teams. He had proved a textbook method wrong. The screen was covered in little red hearts and laughing emojis.
‘I for one am happy because this shift to a new normal also made me realise that I wasn’t giving enough time to my family”. Dad continued ‘I missed all those silly complaints of Adi and beautiful opinions of Maya. But this year we did things that earlier seemed impossible. And you know what was that? Simple. We laughed together, cooked together. These are the simple pleasures whose absence from the earlier “normal” we couldn’t realise’.
The whole country is under such a big pandemic, it is necessary that we use whatever we have to try and adapt with new things. Adi, you have an interest in reading about wildlife, don’t you? So, you might know that the most long-lived species of animals is not the one that is the strongest, it is the one that is the most adaptable.
So, try finding Happiness in every situation. These online classes and meetings? Will may as well be here for some time’. We need to be adaptable and not live each day mourning over this existence’ He laughed and concluded.
It is Tuesday, 9:30 a.m. and I am attending my online classes and for once I am feeling light because I decided to crack jokes with my friends and even my teacher said that he is not happy with these online classes and making PPTs. The sun today did crack up a little in the sky, and disappeared, but still giving a sign that light is not completely far away.
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“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?”
Both of us wanted to write about something else, find some other intriguing topic, or at least we tried to. In our country India, with the clicks of the second wave staring right at us, making itself evident every day, we could not depict our ignorance as we write. We write about some people, who deserve appreciation, however little or unreachable to them!
So, let us first reflect reality. Which is very important, because we cannot delusion into an exciting panorama of words. During the second wave, with more and more people losing their lives, and whole families being affected, there is hesitation to go near the body or carry the last rites of the person. Some are aggrieved by the high transport costs that ambulances are charging, looting away their money. Many are angry at the breakdown of the system, and the skyrocketing money they need to pay, to not lose someone. Turmoil is big, the situation is definitely severe, and yes, there is much more learning to be taken from this whole pandemic.
Certain people, despite being affected in a similar magnitude or worse, are emerging to undertake actions and helping families, to their capacity. If you take a look at the no. of recovered patients, they are an outcome of unhidden efforts however frail and failed, made by certain people to provide for instance to help the person get himself a hospital bed, or just arrange an oxygen cylinder, cremate body of persons, or simply provide meals.
But sometimes, the volunteers are not able to do so. The simple text message of a kin informing them about the demise, even though supplemented by a small ‘thank you’ must produce unbearable anguish. It was a wonder to both of us, how could they not cry all the time. Maybe, they just knew what their job was and what they had committed themselves to… They are the ones who do not seek credit. These are our volunteers. Volunteering by choice.
When we all are just completely indoors the only way to connect with people is via phones and social media.
“There is so much information, but so little information that holds value”, said a social media influencer. It is true that there have been hundreds of numbers and links shared on WhatsApp and Instagram groups. But how many are valid?
Imagine trying numbers one by one associated with help but finding them ‘Busy’ or just useless. Nonetheless, the volunteers in social media are working to trace reliable information and contact patients who contacted them. Yes, they may not have taken the Hippocratic Oath, but they are ready to serve the people at odd hours even!
The same social media which earlier was considered as an affliction has also helped save lives to some extent via SOS calls, teleconsultation, and moderation to connect patients with medical supplies.
Apart from the ‘ online warriors ‘ several people are emerging engaging in last rite activities of the dead patients. Each of our religions and faiths have their own set of rituals, invoking a sensory belief that the person, who has died, should be cremated keeping in mind the beliefs and culture. But the lethal wave in our country has brought all people to the common ground, the situation is restraining them to perform even the last rites of the person.
“”We are doing it for… mankind, for humanity. That’s all”
While such phrases hardly shake up any reality of sorts, hearing them from people, who are actually confronting a humanitarian crisis, they get a greater meaning.
These people are attending the distressful calls of people and with the same hand, are forced to decline too. What can be the worst?
But all the more, the realisation that it brought to both of us, was that people were stepping for each other, overarching all lines, be it through cheerful acts like adoptions or maybe as sad sounding as cremations and burials.
There is a group of Hindu, Muslim and Christian volunteers called ‘Mercy Angels’ in Bangalore, Karnataka who are providing support to poor families to help them transport bodies for cremations. They themselves prepare graves and perform last prayers according to the religious custom. People from different religious lines are teaming up to work across religious lines.
And somehow, from reading about volunteers and Adoption NGOs and families, respite from this realisation, we could not shake away this thought, even if it lasts for only sometime.
Different volunteering groups are emerging sometimes, tapping into the skills of the members. Most of all, one does not need to accord to some ‘check- list’ to be a volunteer. The only requirement will be that you actually want to do what you are doing. And sometimes it amounts to just a little effort! Our senior members, are organising sweet musical and bhajan sessions, bringing jolly and gay. Even children are using the crocodile tears technique to keep our fidgeting parents under control. For them of course!!
Overall, people are stepping up when now they cannot possibly rely on the elected folks. These are our silent workers– our volunteers and doctors. They do not complain, they just do it. As for whom? They would say for Humanity.
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